Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mix it up

This shirt and pants work, Mommy.  Any 2 colors work together.  Look in nature.

What was I to say to that?  My 9th grade art teacher had sold me on the idea that colors on the opposite side of the color wheel would clash and shouldn't be put beside each other.  Simonne's comment brought to mind all the red hibiscuses in my grandmother's garden growing up.  Of course red and green could be together!  Maybe the clash is part of the beauty.

I was reminded of that thought last night, listening to people on a team think about how their personalities clashed with each other and ways to overcome the conflicts that arose.  As we talked, the beauty in putting opposing ideas together became obvious.  Instead of fighting about me being red and you being green, we can find ways to mix, juxtapose, shape, texture our colors to create a myriad of possibilities. Synergy is always possible.

Although always possible, making some connections synergistic may cost more than you are willing to pay.  I'm imagining myself with the paints trying to create beauty with my limited skill.  For the fun of it, to explore and grow, sure.  If I have a deadline, and a deliverable, I may set a time limit to my creative explorations.  Closer to my deadline, I might just do what works.  Decisions based on what's efficient and what will take me closer to what I want within the time frame that I want, are critical to make.  Still, could those outcomes lack umph and pizzazz, based on the synergy found in days gone by?

The world pops with possibilities, ideas, images to play with and integrate, take apart and recreate. How boring to always use yesteryear's stuff! I'm setting another intention, as important to me as all the other deliverables that I juggle.  I'll practice looking for synergistic connections when I don't need them.  That way they'll be easier to spot when I do.

What are you going to throw together in your idea stew today to create synergy where others would least expect it?

Monday, January 28, 2013

That Which You Appreciate Most

We're all familiar with the phenomenon; people often don't appreciate or are dismissive of that which they don't understand, with which they are unfamiliar, and/or for which they lack skill. It's easy to see how the phenomenon works and, therefore, easy to address.

There's a related phenomenon that can prove significantly more challenging both to identify and to address; we often don't appreciate or are dismissive of that which we deeply understand, with which we are intimately familiar, and/or in which we are highly skilled. In particular, we often fail to appreciate in ourselves that for which we have the greatest appreciation in others, and in many cases, that lack of appreciation can be downright debilitating.

For example, I often run into self-described "former" musicians, people who love music, who deeply understand music, who spent years developing their musical skills,  and yet, no longer play music. In fact, the phenomenon is so prevalent that my first question of someone after finding out she's a musician is, "So, do you still play?"

You'd be amazed at how often the answer is something like, "No, I haven't played in years."

Being, well, me, I usually continue to pull on the thread asking, "Why not?"

The reasons are varied, often elaborate and always, well, horse doo-doo. I mean, they sound reasonable (kinda), but all in all, they don't actually support the conclusion.

I ask, "So why aren't you playing any more?"

He responds, "It got so that practicing was taking up way too much of my time", or "In order to get to the level I wanted to be at, I'd have had to give up too much else.", or "There are already so many great players. The more I learned, the more I realized that I was never going to be really great."

All sound reasonable (if not accurate). They just have nothing to do with why one would no longer play music. They have only to do with why a musician would no longer appreciate her skills and talent. The pathologies vary, but the dysfunction is always the same; a great player says, "I don't play because I'm not good enough to play."

Of course this phenomenon is not limited to musicians. For example, if you ever explore Harvard Square, you'll find just beyond the Red Line entrance, an area with stone chess tables. At those tables you'll find a grisled group of chess veterans who'll be glad to play you for money. There are always plenty of takers (tourists and students from local universities), who are always surprised at how quickly they lose their bets.

When my dad was in school in Cambridge, he'd make pocket money by playing the chess veterans. Sometimes, he'd play three or four at time. He'd always win. Yet, nowadays, when asked to play chess, he declines. Sometimes, in response to his being at a loss for what to do with himself, I'll suggest, "Hey dad, how about tutoring chess to local high school or college students."

He ignores my suggestion. He's just not good enough.

I could go on. There are so many ways in which this phenomenon plays out. I'd love to figure out a good remediation for it. Hmm...

Hey, what about you? Do you have something that you deeply understand, with which you are intimately familiar, and/or in which you are highly skilled, but that you no longer pursue? What would you do with you if you wanted you to get over it?

Happy Monday,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Your Inner Deduct

Grossly stated, there are two types of people in this world: ones who learn through study and ones who learn through activity (grossly stated).

And, oh yeah, the former doesn't actually work.

Well, it kind of works. Being good at the former (which means you probably favor deductive reasoning) does work if you're someone who's concerned about doing well in school, finding approval, getting a good job and keeping it. So, if those things are important to you, you could say that deductive learning works.

However, in my experience (grossly speaking), deductively-oriented people (let's call them deducts) tend to know about more than they tend to just know. They're great resources for background, context and facts; however, they're not particularly good at creating, inventing or solving problems (grossly speaking).

On the other hand (grossly speaking), inducts tend to know without knowing about. An induct might completely understand how something works and be able to explain it; however, her explanation would lack proper terminology or supporting references. An induct might intimately understand and regularly apply concepts like imaginary number or tritone substitution and yet not know that those concepts have names. Grossly and metaphorically speaking, an induct will repeatedly reinvent the wheel because he didn't know that the wheel had already been invented.

So, grossly speaking, inducts know without knowing about; deducts know about without knowing.

Less grossly speaking, no one is a purely deductive nor inductive. There are inducts who regularly use google and read books. There are deducts who regularly put down the instructions and figure out how to put together the IKEA bookshelf. The mix varies from person to person, but there's a least a little induct or deduct inside each of us.

If you were to chart a population's tendency toward inductive versus deductive learning, you might expect to see bell-curve distribution with the people most unilaterally inclined (pure inducts and pure deducts) represented in the tails of the curve. However (this may seem counter-intuitive),  it's more likely that the center of the bell would be occupied by those with strong leanings toward one or the other form of learning and the tails would represent those whose inner induct and deduct had become friends. Further, I'll bet that the chart would change based on the age of the population, i.e., the older the population, the more strongly biased the learning method.

Forgetting for a moment whether or not my gross observations represent reality, a question would be: Why does this matter?

I don't know. It's just something that came to mind this morning as I thought about the participants in a meeting I attended yesterday. In my experience, the people who seem to be most effective at what they do are the ones whose inner deducts and inducts have become the best of friends. They're the ones who can casually yet deliberately shift back and forth between inductive and deductive learning. They're the creative scientists and the disciplined artists; they're the ones who achieve breakthroughs and solve the hardest problems.

So, grossly speaking, it'd really cool if everyone nursed, nurtured and developed her neglected induct or neglected deduct to the point where the neglected one was as strong or stronger than than the favored one.

Grossly speaking, that is.

Happy Thursday,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Repetitive Stress

We've all heard of repetitive stress injury, damage to muscles, tendons and nerves that builds slowly as a result of repeated activity (e.g., pressing against hard surfaces, holding awkward positions, over-extending your back, arms or legs) or exposure to stimuli (e.g., vibration, cold,  pressure). The damage incurred by each action or exposure is minimal and goes unnoticed until the cumulative effect reaches a tipping point and suddenly, "ow".

Repetitive stress typically results from activities and experiences that we enjoy, ones that hold our attention. We become so focused that we often miss the effects in the moment, only noticing them later when we're not engaged in the activity that caused them. Missing the momentary effect makes identifying the source of stress difficult, specially when we don't want to believe that something we enjoy is causing us pain.

There are many popular forms of repetitive stress injury (e.g, tennis elbow, texter's thumb, phoner's shoulder, typist's neck, and masturbator's wrist) that we've come to recognize as such.  However, there are other, more subtle and varied forms that have a greater impact on our day-to-day lives, and yet go unnoticed, specially the ones that directly impact our perspectives and happiness.

FOX-News Angst
For example, my dad suffers from what I've come to call FOX-News Angst. Every day, he "enjoys" watching hour-upon-hour of the network's broadcasts. As he begins his viewing day, the familiar strains of various anchors and pundits provide him a sense of normalcy and well-being. He laughs and nods as they joke about the latest ineptitude perpetrated by the current holders of political office. By mid-morning he gets a bit agitated; the inept actions are no longer funny; they're dangerous. By lunchtime he's deeply concerned about the future of this country; he's angry that no one is doing anything about it.  By dinnertime he's downright depressed, so tired that he might just skip dinner and go to bed.

That's pretty much my dad's daily experience.

Every once-and-a-while, Dad talks about how depressed he feels. I ask him about it. He tells me about all the terrible things that are happening in this world, how they could all be avoided if the people in charge weren't so stupid and inept. As he tells his tale, he repeatedly cites a single source of information. "I was watching FOX News and..." or "They said on FOX that..."

I point out that he's said nothing about his environment or what's happening to him. None of the sources of his depression are from direct experience; all are from television. I suggest that, if he really doesn't want to be depressed, perhaps he should spend more time not-watching FOX News. Several times, my dad has responded with, "You know, a couple of other people told me that today."

Nonetheless, watch FOX he does. He recognizes the challenge, but is not ready to act upon his insights. It's a purgatory of sorts, a state of being that is post-denial, yet pre-acknowledgment.

1-2-3 Repeat
Of course my dad's not alone in his pursuit of non-physical activities that lead to repetitive stress and strain. We all do them, sometimes quite consciously, sometimes not. Many of our activities that result in stress and strain are ones we've done so long that we know longer notice the activity, let alone the causal relationship.

For example, some of us respond to every failure or near failure with a litany of self-retribution. We beat ourselves mercilessly so as to avoid repeating the offense. We've responded this way for so long that we no longer see it as anything but "how anyone would react."  The longterm effect of repeatedly beating the crap out of yourself is pretty significant, specially when you don't even notice that that's what you're doing.

Other examples include:
- mulling over all that go wrong,
- telling others why your're bound to fail,
- keeping inside the things that bother you most,
- envying people who have unfair advantages, and
- hating how you look.

You get the idea. There are as many forms as there are people, perhaps more. These types of repetitive stress affect us physically, mentally and psychologically in bigger ways than any physical repetitive stress every could. Yet we tend not to acknowledge the existence of the phenomenon, let alone the specific instances.

The crazy part is that it's not all that hard to correct our actions. The tricky part is seeing them and acknowledging their effect.

Happy Monday,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

As Advertised

You often hear people giving advice on the importance of making a good first impression. There's something to it. Most of us are inundated with so much information and activity, that we tend to quickly filter out all but that which grabs our attention and makes an impression. So, if for no other reason, making a good first impression may be the only way to get the opportunity to make a second one, or more accurately, making an impression (good or otherwise) is a requirement for making a second one.

This calls into question "good"; what makes an first impression a good one?

I guess that all depends on what you hope to accomplish. By definition, first impressions are made when your meet someone for the first time. The situations vary. It might be a job interview or the first day on a new job; it might be a blind date or the first time you meet your partner's parents. It might be a sales call or a presentation to the board of directors.

The definition of "good" varies with the situation. In one, you might want to appear smart and self-motivated, in another you might want avoid appearing too smart or ambitious. In one, you're fashion conscious and dress sharply. In another, you're casual, easy and not particularly aware of trends and styles.

When someone advises you on making a good first impression (or perhaps when you advise others), it's often accompanied by advice on what "good" means. The mere fact that that you're receiving the advice likely means that "good" doesn't mean you, or at least, not in your current state.

"If you want to get that job, you're going to have get a haircut, buy a new suit, and make sure that you show up on time for that interview."

"If you want her to like you, you're going to have to brush up on your Shakespeare, brighten those teeth, and do something about that combover."

"If you don't want your new teachers to think you're some kind of delinquent, you're going to have to..."

So, accepting advice on making a good first impression means changing something about yourself, you probably often do it.


Because, it tends to work. Sometimes you take the advice straight away, sometimes you like to give it a go on your own before succumbing to change. Still, change you do, and the change is good, at least in the context of achieving what you set out to achieve.

However, there's a problem with making a good first impression; the degree of the problem is directly proportional to the variance between the impression and you. Sometimes you do such a great job at making a good impression that you end up dreading the results of your success. It's one thing to buy a suit to get a job; it's another to buy a wardrobe now that you've landed it. It's one thing to exude confidence, clarity and gregariousness for the duration of an interview; it's another to do it ten hours/day, five-days/week.

The problem with making too good a first impression is that you end up selling a product that doesn't actually exist. The product may be on the drawing board, it may be in development, it may be in beta test, or it may be only a concept. Nonetheless, it's not something that's ready for everyday use.

So what do you do? Do you buck it up and decide to deliver on the as-advertised promise? Do you fake it for a while with the plan to let them down slowly, hoping that they don't notice? Do you walk back in and make a strongly corrected second impression? It can be a challenge, specially when the upside of the good impression has strong appeal.

In the end, most of us recognize that, while trying to make a good first impression, people often oversell their strengths and mask their weaknesses, because most of us have done it. Knowing that, most of us slowly morph from the as-advertised to the as-is, and everyone seems OK with it.

What if we decided not to do that? What if we decided to deliver on that first impression, to over-deliver on it. What if each of us decided to be all we were advertised to be on that job interview or on that first date or during that audition. What if we decided to always be as conscious of others, as engaged with our activities, as confident, as energetic, as enthusiastic as we were then? How would things change if we showed up every day as advertised?

Maybe you already do. Maybe you're better than advertised. Maybe there are a couple of things that are not quite as advertised. Maybe nothing is as advertised. Maybe it's time to ask the people on whom you made the first impressions whether or not they got what was advertised. Maybe...

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Someone's Knocking at Your Door

Tap, tap, tap.

What was that? Something on the television?

Tock, tock, tock.

There it goes again. Perhaps it's... Hey, the television isn't even on.

Wrap, wrap, wrap.

OK, that definitely came from somewhere down the hallway.

Bang, bang, bang.

"Mom, dad, there's someone at the door!"

Oh, it's someone knocking on the door. 

Tock, tap, tap, tock, tock, tap.

You know that knock. You know who's knocking.

It's someone you've known forever. It's someone with whom you've shared more experiences than you can remember. It's someone who knows you so well that even your slightest gesture is accurately interpreted, perhaps more accurately than you would interpret it yourself. It's someone with whom you can share anything and they'll get it. It's someone who feels the same way about you as you do about them. It's someone you haven't seen in years.

As you get up from the couch and navigate the toys and laundry basket, you can imagine the person waiting opposite your door. Your mind flashes through all the great times you've had together. You smile as your pace and your pulse quicken with excitement. 

Your left hand on the deadbolt and your right on the doorknob, you pause a moment to catch your breath and then a moment longer to catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. 

OK, here goes. Your left hand turns the latch as your right turns the knob, you pull open the door.
Take a moment. Close your eyes and imagine the person waiting on the other side of the doorway. Whom do you see? What about them makes them that person? How long has it been? How do you feel? What do you say to them?
You open the door. You both stand frozen, taking each other in. You embrace. You usher your friend across the threshold and into your place. You make introductions.

Hours later, you both lean back in your chairs and sigh your satisfaction. It's just you two; everyone else went to bed long ago. It's time for your friend to leave. 

When will you see each other again?

You've no idea.

You want to give your friend a gift, something to convey how you feel. You want it to be more than a token; you want it to be something useful in a unique and meaningful way. The stores are all closed and besides, you've no time for shopping. It's going to have to be something on hand.

Your mind searches its inventory of all your stuff. Nope. Nope. Nope. Hmm... Finally an item grabs your attention. It's perfect, it's unique, it's meaningful, it's valuable and it's wonderfully useful, specially to you. It's something that you use all the time, something that you've had forever, something that won't be easily replaced. It's the perfect gift, but it's one that's hard to give up.
What is it? What makes it perfect? How do you feel when you say, "I have something for you."
You give your gift to your friend. Your friend is deeply touched and has difficulty forming words of thanks. You stand at the door for what seems like hours saying your goodbyes. In cool blue light of early morning, your friend walks away from your place. Reaching the street, your friend turns to wave goodbye. 

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Random Numbers

OK, I've finally discovered something that I absolutely cannot do. I lack the native skills. It's simply not in me to do it. Sigh...

"What is it", you ask.

Here goes.

I can never think of a random number.

I just can't do it.

Someone asks me to think of one,  I blurt one out and before they've jotted it down, I think, "Damn, that's not random. I know why I said 169."

I'm not one to think that things are impossible. In fact, there's very little that I would ever consider to be impossible. Nonetheless, I'm pretty darn sure that coming up with a random number may in fact be impossible.

To be clear, I'm not talking about an impossibility of convenience,  you know, what you hear when you ask you accountant or IT person for a Mac rather than a PC. Nope, I'm talking high-grade impossibility like anti-gravity or inter-dimensional travel or creative bureaucrats. In fact, those impossibilities pale when compared to my coming up with a random number.

Sure, I could be completely wrong. I'd welcome insight and correction.

OK, I'm not really open to random insight or correction (so to speak), but I'd like to hear some well-reasoned insight and/or correction. I'd love for someone to explain to me how (outside of quantum effect) randomness exists, period. I hesitate to use the word "quantum" because it's been absconded with by the new-age, crop-circle folks, but nonetheless, from a physics perspective, quantum effect is the only thing that appears to be random (heavy emphasis on 'appears').

Outside of quantum physics, I don't know of anything in science that supports the existence of randomness, let alone my ability to come up with a random number. Everything is deterministic. Roll the universe back to the beginning, or for that matter, to last week, start it up again, and it will play out exactly the same way. Every atom will do what it previously did. Every action taken will be repeated. Every causal relationship will play out as it had before, even the North American butterfly flapping up a tropical storm in South America.

All science points to determinism, i.e., there is no randomness.

The absence of randomness means that absolutely everything that happens is predictable. Granted, collecting all the necessary data, analyzing it and predicting exactly what will happen is a tad bit harder than knowing that everything is predictable, but being able to predict something is only tangentially related to its being predictable. It's not unlike Archimedes' lever, fulcrum and a place to stand.

Hey, wait a minute. You know what this means?

You can't think of a random number either. Every "random" thing you do was preceded by a series of events that led to it. All those events influenced your thinking. Were you to replay them and consider the influence of each, you'd be able to see how you got to what you'd previously thought to be random thought or action.

So what?

Good question.

I guess I just randomly thought of this and...

No, seriously folks, the "so what" is that everything we do can be understood and explained; there is nothing that we "just do". Even the most bizarre and "random" behavior can be understood in terms of precedents and motivations. In some cases, you may have to pay closer attention than in others; in some cases, you may need a place to stand that's far enough away to see everything. Nonetheless, there's nothing about ourselves that can't be understood; it seems that way.

Let me amend my original thesis to: I can never come up with a random thought nor can I ever take a random action. Therefore, there's nothing about me that I can't understand.

Happy Tuesday,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Place to Stand

What a year I'm having! And it's not even two weeks old.

Of course the two-weeks-old part could be a bit misleading. After all, I got a running start. In fact, I started running towards this year almost four years ago.  I didn't know at that time that I was running towards this year; at intervening points, I wasn't exactly sure towards what I was running, but run I did (or at least metaphorically). To draw the most from the running metaphor, I'd have to say that it's been something of a marathon sprint.

Any way, what a year I'm having! Over the past two weeks, I've been offered more business opportunities than I'd been offered over the past five years.  It's as if people finally started catching up with the ideas I've been developing in my software laboratory and catching on to how useful they might be.  Responses to my sharing what I've been working on went from "what the heck are you talking about" to "why would anybody need that" to "no one could possibly build that" to "when can I have that?"

In short, it's been way cool.

I went to Florida this week to solidify a plan for a new healthcare project that combines media messaging, traditional healthcare methods, and  mobile and web technologies to improve community healthcare while reducing costs. The project is a partnership among a university, a large healthcare system, a media company, a television network and me. At the end of our kick-off meeting, not only was everyone on board, but they were really excited about what we'd set out to accomplish.

We walked out of the building and got into the car. I thought aloud, "Wow, I finally have a place to stand. I've got a fulcrum, and over the past four years I've been putting together a monster of a lever, but for the first time, I have a place on which I can stand and use it."

My reference to Archimedes wasn't lost on my business partners who, after the meeting, could fully appreciate the metaphor.

For me, it was as if all the disparate piece-parts I'd been working on for the past four years suddenly came together in a highly concentrated and focused manner, like random bits of light spontaneously forming into a lazer beam. I'd like to say, it's just as I planned it, but over the past four years I had no idea how everything would work out; I just kept taking step after step after step.

There were times where not knowing got a bit trying, but then another opportunity to take a step would distract me and off I'd go. You don't know how it's going to turn out, but you kind of do. You don't know the specifics, but you do know that if you keep building tools that solve real problems and you build them in a way that allows them to work together, something's bound to happen. Of course included in the specifics that you don't know is the specific 'when'.

Anyway, I think 'when' just might be 'now'.

What a year I'm having! Still a lot of work to do and a lot of variables to be nailed down, but hey, that's what keeps it interesting.

Happy Saturday,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Adults Lie

Some time between my fourth and fifth birthdays I came to the conclusion that as people get older, they become badder. Not badder as in "That's right, we're bad", but badder as in more evil. In my four-year-old mind it went something like this. Everyone is born good, but over time they all grow up to be bad.

For example, I noticed that in order to be really mean and scary, one had to be an adult. Other kids my age could be mean sometimes, but they weren't mean for long and they were never scary (even when pretending to be monsters). However, adults could be mean over extended periods and they definitely could be scary (even when pretending to be friendly), specially when their faces turned red as they yelled at you.

For many of my peers, this would no doubt have been sufficient evidence to prove my point. However, there was something that adults did that to me really brought home the insidious nature of their badness.

They lied.

I could probably have figured out a way to deal with the mean and scary stuff, but the lying part was almost too much to bear.

I started to notice them lying at parties my parents had from time to time. Two ladies would be having a conversation as a third would enter the room. They'd both smile and wave at the third lady who'd walk over to greet them. They'd warmly greet one-another telling the third lady how nice it was to see her and how they looked forward to being together. Then after the third lady moved on to greet others, one of the first two would say, "Don't you just despise her. She's so fake."

At first I thought that the two ladies were just insane or something, but over time I noticed others doing the same kinds of things. It had never occurred to me that, outside of the bad guys on TV shows, people would lie like that.

I started to pay attention to adults who talked to me to see if I could tell when they were lying. I noticed that when they repeatedly use phrases like "Uh, huh" and "That's nice", that they weren't really listening to me. I noticed that when they continued to look at the TV while talking with me, they weren't really paying attention. I concluded that no matter what they say to the contrary, if their faces are red and they're trembling, they're mad.

Not only did adults lie, but sometimes they seemed proud of it. I'd overhear my dad and his friends talking about something that happened at the office. Describing a situation where he'd been asked in a meeting about work he'd not gotten to, one would say , "So I just told him that we'd already completed the job."

The others would laugh supportively.

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept was that my mom lied, even to me. It started one night at one of my parents parties. After I was supposed to have been asleep in bed, I got up and wondered down the hall to see what was going on. I peeked around the corner into the living room where I saw my mom at the center of a circle of friends who were talking and laughing. I smiled, seeing what fun they were having.

Then I noticed something between two of my mom's extended fingers; it was a lit cigarette. I slipped back down the hallway, crawled into my bed and cried myself to sleep. As long as I could remember, my mom had made it clear to me how bad cigarettes were. She talked about how people who smoke can't control themselves. They lose themselves to cigarettes.

The next morning at breakfast, my mom could see that something was bothering me. She asked me about it. I told her what I'd seen. I was hopeful that she'd have a good reason for having the cigarette.

She hesitated, looked off to her left, looked at me and said, "Oh honey, that wasn't my cigarette. I was holding it for someone else."

"Who were you holding it for?"

Another hesitation and, "I was holding it for Mrs. Buck."

"Mrs. Buck smokes cigarettes?"

"Um... no not usually, just sometimes at parties."

It seems comical to me now, but seeing that my mom not only smoked, but that she also lied about smoking was pretty hard to take at four.

Prior to that moment, I'd tell my mom anything. Afterward, I started keeping things inside. In fact, I stopped trusting adults altogether. Stopped sharing what was happening for me. Stopped sharing my worries and fears.

Fifty-odd years later, I realize I've never shared the above with anyone. My reasons have changed, mainly to the fact that I haven't really thought about the experience since I was a kid.

Then why think of it now?

Lately, I've watched Iris as she works with kids with autism. She's remarkably effective and people are always asking how she's able to do what she does so well. This morning in the shower it occurred to me that, to the kids with whom Iris works, she's 100% trustworthy. They believe in her. They trust her. As a result, they'll do things with her that they would never do with others.

As a four-year-old I may have been exceptionally perceptive; my perception may have been below average.  Nonetheless, I can't help but think that kids take in and process much more than we give them credit for and that for them, the decisions are black and white. There are adults who lie and adults who don't. Depending the category into which a child places you, you may be wonderfully effective or wonderfully ineffective.

Happy Thursday,